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tomf
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Favorite or go to dishes you make?

What are some of your favorite or go to dishes you make? If you want to share recipes with us that would be nice. One of the meals I make quite often is stir-fry. I change up the spice and ingredients to keep it interesting. I make a lot of Mexican dishes as well. As my wife needs a low salt diet I make my own spice combinations and cook with out salt. She also does the same. I also love to make Italian food, I make a verity of different dishes and a killer lasagna. I make a number of other dishes but these are my go to ones. I joined Pintrest, there are so many recipes there to try.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

pepperhead212
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I have hundreds of favorites that I have been accumulating through the years. Early on, I started a loose-leaf notebook, where I would write my favorites, which I called my "blue book", and eventually, I had to transfer all of my Asian recipes to another notebook, which I call my black book. I have put most of them on a program in my computer, but it's still easier to use a book, esp. when making several dishes.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Lately I've been buying a whole chicken when it comes on sale then roasting it. Then I use it for about four meals during the week. I just add a little for Chicken Alfredo, chicken carnitas tacos, chicken puttanesca style pasta (with anchovies, capers and olives), and sometimes with gravy and mashed potatoes, chicken with Indian simmer sauce and basmati rice and an Asian stir fry. With some chickens I can make five meals out of one chicken.

A go-to meal? One hour Paella.
1 Chorizo sausage
1/3 to 1/2 pound or more of calamari tentacles (substitute baby octopus if they sell it locally!)
9 or more shrimps
Some leftover chicken if you like
Saffron
Turmeric
Soup powder

Seafood marinade
Olive oil
1 Tbsp Smoked paprika
4+ cloves of chopped garlic
Saffron threads
half a teaspoon of turmeric
Dash or three of white wine vinegar, preferably champagne vinegar or you can use the juice of one lemon or lime.

This is a Spanish dish that's basically like a Jambalaya. Traditionally they use special pans and open flames and bake it for hours and hours. But my way tastes just as good and better than many others I've tasted where they have fussed all day to make. And mine only takes about an hour to make, regardless if the rice was done ahead of time or not.

Seafood is marinated in the above marinade. Let it marinade for a few minutes or longer if you want. Doesn't really need to marinade. Once you're ready throw it into pan and sautee in the juice on a medium low heat. Doesn't take long.

While that's cooking bake your sausage until it's fully cooked through, 350 degrees for about a half hour should do it. Then put it in the food processor then sautee it a little more in a pan that's maybe 14 inches big.

Add seafood with all the juices in with chorizo.
Add one or two teaspoons of broth powder
Add about a 1/3 cup to half cup of water
Let it boil down a little so that when you throw the rice in the rice doesn't become soggy, but you still want some water in there.

Throw in the rice and mix it all around. Turn down the heat and let it simmer on low for about a half hour. Or you can throw it in the 375 degree oven with a cover on the pan for about a half hour.

You can add green peppers if you like, sautéed onions, etc. It's a very flexible recipe. Once you've made it you'll see how flexible it is so that you can improvise. The Spanish style chorizo is the key though. A little goes a long way, about a 1/3 of a pound is plenty. The chorizo is for flavor, not for filling you up.

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digitS'
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Like you Tom, I go to a stir-fry often. Quite a few different meats and vegetables can play a role. A little broth, splash of soy sauce, probably some of that broth with some cornstarch stirred in. Serve over rice from the rice cooker. I'm done.

Nearly all meat goes through a marinade but mostly it's chicken. Usually, 2 parts soy sauce, 2 parts vinegar, 1 part oil. There are lots of variations with the vinegars and adding onion, garlic, ginger ...

This winter, I don't have my little beds of Asian greens in the greenhouse but we frequent the supermarket produce aisle even when I do.

Rice is always on hand. So is pasta and there's frozen pasta sauce from our tomatoes. Our potatoes and winter squash from the basement with some meat, it's easy to put "something" on the table.

DW has salt restrictions, also. I use Mrs Dash and sauces rather than salt. I figure that the addition of flavor lowers the desire for salt.

Steve
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

My goto quick to make meal often involves some kind of pasta or noodles and leftovers.

- Especially this time of the year, noodle soups are common
— packaged dry or “fresh/frozen” ramen noodles, leftover meats, veggies. I hardly ever use the instant flavor packets. Toss the meats in with root veggies in the ramen boiling water, add noddles, add leafy veggies, sometimes tomatoes and/or peppers and chopped scallions/green onion and garlic tops from my winter Indoor garden, or frozen greens from the summer garden. Frozen peas, corn, etc. I might wash eggs and boil them first in the water if I have no meats. Remove and shell, then either put back halfcooked ones whole or slice up hard boiled ones and put on top at serving. Use additional toppings like sesame seeds, torn up nori, etc.
— soba or udon noodles are cooked separate from the soup base made with konbu.kelp and bonito flakes and/or dried sardines. Add whatever veggies that might suit. Protein for these is usually some kind of soy product or seafood. Frozen shrimp or scallops maybe, surimi, age/fried tofu.... I discovered H-mart sells tasty tempura shrimp at their prepared foods counter - 6 to a wrapped styrofoam tray pack. Re-heat these separate in in the toaster oven and top the noodle soup bowls at serving. Udon is also good with leftover porkchop or chicken.

- regular pasta, too, with or without tomato-based sauce. Often leftovers are involved here as well. Usually just made up on the fly....
— e.g. last night’s pasta — whole wheat fusili cooked al dante or just before, scoop out the pasta from pot, discard most of the cooking water but reserve about 2-3 cups, put in leftover roasted sweet potatoes and winter squash (last of the acorn squash from the garden), 3Tbs butter, 1-2 Tbs sunflower oil, 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice blend, diced apples, sea salt. Put back the pasta, cover and cook, stir and blend until all water is gone, half mashing the sweet potatoes and squash, peeling off and removing the skins as they come off, until apples are starting to soften. (freshly ground black pepper on plating for those who wanted it). For protein/additional green component, I served this with a bowl of store bought frozen edamame in their pods that were put in a small pot of shallow (1”) water, covered and cooked on high just until boiling hard and steaming.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I made a favorite dish for the superbowl - something that I have been making since the early 80s, and it is the first recipe in the meat chapter in my asian "black book" of favorite recipes.

This is supereasy...as long as you can get chopped up spareribs! I chop them up myself, with a heavy (about 3/8" thick) cleaver. Good way to vent frustrations! lol However, boneless chunks of pork butt can be used, or cut up country style spareribs, which have smaller bones, though they still need to be chopped up. I have a heavy, plastic chopping board, with one side dedicated to this type of chopping, and you can tell!

Chop larger spareribs into 3 pieces, smaller ones into 2 pieces, and boneless pork into maybe 1 1/2" cubes.

1,2,3,4,5 Spareribs

1 tb rice wine or dry sherry
2 tb dark soy sauce
3 tb white vinegar
4 tb sugar
5 tb water
3/4-1 tsp 5 spice powder (optional, but delicious)
1 1/2 lbs cut up spareribs or pork

Combine the non-meat ingredients in a 3 qt sauté pan (about 9"), and stir around, to mix in the 5 spice powder, and dissolve the sugar. Add the meat, and stir to coat. Bring to a boil over med high heat, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 40 (for boneless) to 45 (for spareribs) minutes, stirring a few times. Remove cover, raise heat, and boil, until the sauce reduces to a thick glaze, stirring around, to coat the meat. Serve, scraping the glaze out onto the meat, and tilting the pan, to leave the fat on one side.

Recipe can be easily doubled, using a 12" sauté pan.
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digitS'
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

applestar wrote:... ramen noodles, leftover meats, veggies. I hardly ever use the instant flavor packets ...
Yeah, we often toss the packets in the trash ... I can imagine the good flavor of kelp and bonito flakes and have probably had that at a restaurant.

We have a supply of rice noodles and make good use of them. Besides a little meat and the veggies, there is likely garlic salt, hot pepper flakes, Mrs Dash and cilantro.I could probably benefit from exploring the mixed spices a bit further.

Udon is different from spaghetti and such. They are both different from ramen altho all are made from wheat. Am I missing something on the market that is ramen without the, often, unpleasant spice packets? Maybe a little more sophisticated ramen?

Steve
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I also do a lot of stir fries and soups. Somewhere here I postsx a list of different spice palettes to give your stir fry different ethnic feels. ( viewtopic.php?f=45&t=72926&p=411835&hil ... es#p411835 )

One of my favorite easy/comes out nice recipes is (vegetarian) bean stroganoff:

1 large onion chopped
3 cups of chopped mushrooms
1/4 C oil and butter
1/4 C whole wheat flour
3/4 C soup stock/ broth
1/4 C dry wine or sherry
1 tsp salt
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
few grindings of fresh nutmeg
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1-1.5 C light sour cream

Heat 2 T oil and 2 T butter in large heavy frying pan. Saute the onions until they are softening and then add mushrooms and saute until everything is soft and the mushrooms are starting to release their juice.

Stir in the the flour and cook for about 2 minutes until the flour has browned lightly and has coated all the veggies

Stir in the stock, wine, worcestershire, mustard and nutmeg. (Be generous with the nutmeg, it is part of the distinctive stroganoff flavor). Cook until the mixture is quite thick.

Stir in the beans and cook over low heat until they are heated through. Stir in the sour cream and cook on low until it is warmed.

Serve over noodles.

It is quick and easy and yummy. With beans and fat free sour cream, it is high protein and fiber and low fat. For best nutrition, use whole wheat noodles and not too many of them, be generous with the proportion of stroganoff sauce to noodles.
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tomf
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I like making beef soup or chicken noodle soup, some dishes like this or taco filling I make in bulk and freeze in meal sizes for a fast meal.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

During the summer, I make up lots of pesto and freeze it into dinner size bags. Then all I have to do for a nice meal is thaw out a pesto bag and put it over pasta. It is also good in soups, potato salad, etc.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I make a lot of Italian sauce and freeze it. I like pesto maybe I will try that.
Do you guys can what you grow, or freeze more of it?
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

More and more these days I freeze things. We got an extra freezer in our garage (our next door neighbors sold their house and moved to Alaska, so they sold us a big freezer very cheap), so plenty of room for frozen stuff. I still can tomatoes and tomato sauce, but that's about it.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I can or dehydrate most of the garden harvest. if the electricity goes out for an extended time, there is less to lose/panic can, eat.
one of our favs is good old black beans and rice

1 pound extra lean ground beef, turkey, bison or chicken
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped(optional)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 TBSP
1TBSP mustard, prepared (spicy brown is good)
1tsp chili powder
2TBSP Braggs liquid aminos (or liquid smoke)
dash cayenne pepper
1 can tomato sauce (no sugar added, or home made)
1 can low sodium black beans, rinsed, drained

brown beef with onion, peppers, and garlic in large skillet
in small bowl combine lemon juice, mustard, chili powder, liquid aminos and cayenne with
a small amount of tomato sauce and whisk until thoroughly blended. stir in remaining tomato sauce then add to meat mixture. add beans and cook for 20 minutes, or until flavors are well blended. serve over brown rice.

substitute red beans for black if desired.

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

These all sound good. I started on a low carb diet so my meals have been changing. I miss the fruit, but luckily I am not a big fan of sweets. Although, I do miss my bag of chocolates in the frig.

I usually eat bacon and eggs for breakfast, for other meals I just make a salad with some grilled protein. Usually Pork loin chop coated with fresh parsley and pan fried with mushrooms and onions. Or a piece of sirloin marinated in oil, red wine, or Italian dressing and pan fried. Sliced across the grain and served on a salad. For seafood, I like shrimp boiled with a lemon until they turn pink as a salad topper. I have been challenged lately finding salad ingredients since I am trying to avoid lettuce because of the e. coli in romaine. I have had more spinach and asian greens, cabbage, cole slaw, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and broccoli instead. I have been eating more laulau since it is the perfect low carb high fat food with the roast pork or chicken, covered in luau leaves. It has gotten very expensive over the last few years, but it is still one of the better convenience foods for the diet.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

So fun to hear about cuisine typical to Hawaii! Do you/can you grow your own leaves? The leaves are not edible, right? So you would not get the “greens” you would with salad? Do you/can you grow more salad greens during the winter months?

I was looking up laulau and wiki description said taro leaves could be used. I had not thought of that — I could easily grow taro even if I don’t always end up with tubers to harvest. Now that I have thought of it, maybe I will try to grow it again this year. The leaves are fun to have growing in the garden, too. I’m trying to grow lotus from seeds, mostly for fun... but lotus leaves could used, too couldn’t they?
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

There are many taro varieties some are grown mainly for the roots, others only for the leaves or stems. Some are dual purpose and both the stems and leaves can be eaten. However, you usually have to choose. If you cut a lot of leaves, the root will not be large. Taro can be grown year round. Luau leaves usually come from taro that is grown in wetland (loi). Eleele roots are used to make poi and the leaves for making laulau or luau (usually chicken and taro leaves cooked in coconut milk. It doesn't look appetizing but tastes good). There is dry land taro that does not need to be in water, although they will grow larger in water. Samoan taro is grown usually for the root. I did have Samoan taro but mine only grew huge leaves. Someone told me the leaves were good to eat but the reason the root stayed small was because I have too much nitrogen and made leaves instead of roots. I have Tahitian taro that is called spinach taro that is grown mostly for the leaves, I have another taro someone gave me that grows over 8 ft and the pink stem is what I would eat. I have araimo, or Japanese taro. It is used in nishime for New Year and for Chinese pork and taro hot pot. I grow the taro in pots, since I had the Samoan and Bun Long (chinese taro) in the ground before and regretted it. They are very hard to dig out and kill once they get established. Araimo can be ready in 5-7 months. The larger taro take between 7-9 months to mature. When the taro is ready to harvest, the tops will start to yellow and die down. If I wait too long to harvest, the mother corm will start to rot and the energy will go to the keiki instead. To get larger taro later, the keiki will need to be transplanted to where they will not be so crowded. This is how I went from one pot of araimo to three.

It takes a lot of luau leaves to make anything and it requires 45-90 minutes cooking to get rid of the oxalic acid crystals, so it usually is not worth doing unless I do a lot. The leaves are usually sold in the market in large bags or from the farm in large burlap bags. It needs to be cooked down until it looks like overcooked spinach. If it is not cooked enough the oxalic crystals will make your throat itchy. It is also why some taro are only used for their roots and not the leaves. Some varieties have more oxalic acid then others.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I have been going to Pintrest and so much of it is about food and recipes. I hope it is ok for me to share this here.
The things I do are an evolution and I am always learning. My way is not the only way of doing things, and I may and will change the way I do things as I learn better ways. So any advice that I give is in that spirit.

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Well, if you got away with it, Tom :wink: :

Many home cooks like to share their creative efforts. Some of them are professionally trained and just want to work at home in their own kitchens. Many parents feel the need to be at home for child care but do not want to cut themselves off from something they really care about, creatively preparing food. These people have blogs.

What about a search engine specifically for food blogs? You will see one I have used if you do a Google search for "food blog aggregator" - leave the parenthesis around those words. A page or two of results will give you a good guide or two. What's great about several of them is that you can be guided to a recipe first by the name of a dish or an ingredient then by a photo from the blog ... "Oh, that looks good!"

By the way ;), it seems to me that good cooks are often good photographers ;).

Steve
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I'm almost 100 % Coonass so my favorite, go-to dishes are what I grew up on. Gumbos of any sort, jambalaya, ettouffee', sauce piquants, pork fixed dozens of ways, seafood of all kinds from mollusks, shellfish, fresh and salt water varieties of game fish.

I could do this for days really. However, my cooking skills cover many different cuisines and my second favorite is Italian since N.O. has a very large Italian population and I find that food to be very rich and tasty. Meatballs, Italian sausage in a rich red gravy, lasagna, fettuccini, bruscialoni, etc. are all favorites. Something about pasta, rich cream sauces, red gravies, and the cheeses just make the mouth water thinking about it.

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Well, I have to say I am back to dieting. That means my "go-to" dishes are now veggie salads and veggie stir fries, with just a little bit of olive oil. Also fruit salad, tofu, other forms of lean protein.

No more bread (have not had a slice of bread for two months), rice, pasta, potatoes .....

About to go make a tomato, white bean, and kale soup!!
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Not much time for cooking so I try to make things that are quick but healthy. I bought an InstantPot and love it. I make Near East brand boxed Spanish Rice and jazz it up with fresh tomatoes and onions and whatever else I can think of. It turns out pretty good.
The last time I made something with a real recipe was quite a while ago when I made an Indian dish that took forever but turned out fantastic. I wish I had more time to cook like that. Indian recipes are my favorite.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

How do you NOT have carbohydrates in your diet? I don’t need processed white flour or grain, but I can’t go without whole grain something for more than 3 days. I crave it. Trying to keep going using white rice, bread or pasta isn’t enough. Same for potatoes but I think that might be something else... maybe vitamins, since I can eat fruits instead and am satisfied.

The “craving” could be interpreted as some kind of addiction, though. Is that how carbos are being interpreted?

I was out of brown rice for 2 weeks and when we finally replenished it and made some, the aroma of cooking brown rice alone made my mouth water. I ate brown rice for all three meals that day and finished the pot. haha

...don’t you need grains to balance the legumes, or are you getting plenty of protein from eggs now?
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KeyWee
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I agree with you, apple ~ carbs are a favorite of mine and I try to choose wisely (grains, beans, etc.). It's where I draw all my energy (I have plenty ~ only need one cup of coffee in the morning).
I really feel that dietary needs (and craving) are entirely singular and what works for one will not be the law for all. It all boils down to mindfulness ~ THINK about what you eat. Food is fuel, not an obsession. Of course, deliciousness is a wonderful thing. Fortunately for me, I will truly eat almost anything (in moderation).
My only BIG crave is grapes and more grapes ~ it's a wonder I don't explode.

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digitS'
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Cravings may also have to do with hunger, of course :wink: .

Broccoli is a fairly nutritionally rich vegetable. No one is suggesting that we try to live on it but let's say that all the vegetables in one's diet have about the same number of calories as broccoli.

Raw broccoli has 20 calories per cup and weighs 71 grams, or .28 calorie per gram.

Cooked broccoli has 54 calories per cup and weighs 156 grams, or .35 calorie per gram.

Adults eat about 1800 grams of food each day. That would be about

500 calories of raw veggies (broccoli standard :wink: )
630 calories of cooked veggies.

If we need 2000 calories each day to maintain our weight, we could double the amount that we eat and still lose weight ... and continue long enough ... starve ..!

Okay, that is all somewhat silly but it suggests the value of vegetables in our diets to maintain or lose weight. Required calories may vary by individuals but broccoli would mostly all be about the same.

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

BirdLover,

Since you noted that Indian recipe are your favorite, I thought that I'd chime in here and tell you how fast they can be to make! Friends who come over to eat Indian, Thai, and other Asian dishes at my house often make comments about how fast these things are to make from scratch, esp. when they look at many of the recipes, which often consist of 20 or more ingredients! Often I will put rice on to cook in the rice cooker, then start the rest, and we'll have to wait for the rice to finish the last few minutes.

With any cuisines, it is necessary to have all of the the ingredients, but organization is the main key to have them done quickly. With Indian, most of the seasonings are dry, with Chinese, much of it is liquid, paste, or fermented vegetables, and SE Asian, sort of a fusion, though closer to the Chinese. The dry spices are a little quicker to measure out, and organize for cooking. Here's one of the boxes I keep my main spices in; usually I don't need another from the other boxes, except maybe the one with the spice mixes.
ImageDSCF0841_zps475194ad by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Here's how I measure out the spices, to ready them for a dish. This is more than what is in most, as it is one of those spice mixes - sambar masala - which makes it easy to add all of this to a dish quickly! All of these spices are toasted, then ground up.
ImageIMG_20180823_203745058 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Usually, I only have 3 or 4 of these cups for each recipe, often with more than one ingredient in them, as I combine all of the ingredients added at the same time in one cup. After a while you know which ones go together.

About 5 years ago I went on my "Indian Food kick" - something I have done with other cuisines, when wanting to learn all I could about them, and find the best brands and types of things, though with Indian, it's not so much brands, unless you are buying pre-made masalas, and similar things, which I don't recommend. The reason I never liked Indian food previously, was all of the untoasted spices used, giving a lot of the food a "raw cinnamon" flavor. I tested out all of the dals , and other legumes, and pretty much got off of white rice (I used to buy Jasmine rice in 25 lb bags, just for myself!), without thinking about it. while they do use a lot of white rice, I was mostly trying other things, and lost almost 50 lbs, without even trying! Now, I make a lot of Indian dishes, using various lentils, as well as whole grains - millet, quinoa, spelt, barley, and others. Not traditional, but it turns out good, and the Instant Pot makes those things quick to cook. Often they are started with an onion, and maybe some garlic, then the dal and grains added, with the water, plus maybe one of those spice mixes, cooked however long that takes, then the tadka is made, the term "tempering" is often used for this step - some mustard seeds fried in some oil, then cumin, sometimes some urad dal, and some other spices added, along with some whole chilis, and some curry leaves last, fried 'til crisp - all this takes less than a minute usually, again, with all of the ingredients lined up to add - then this is added to the dish, and simmered a few minutes. Took me longer to type this than a standard dish like this takes to cook!

A Thai curry is also something fast to make...as long as the curry paste is made in advance - something I always have frozen.
Dave

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

applestar wrote:How do you NOT have carbohydrates in your diet? I don’t need processed white flour or grain, but I can’t go without whole grain something for more than 3 days. I crave it. Trying to keep going using white rice, bread or pasta isn’t enough. Same for potatoes but I think that might be something else... maybe vitamins, since I can eat fruits instead and am satisfied.

The “craving” could be interpreted as some kind of addiction, though. Is that how carbos are being interpreted?

I was out of brown rice for 2 weeks and when we finally replenished it and made some, the aroma of cooking brown rice alone made my mouth water. I ate brown rice for all three meals that day and finished the pot. haha

...don’t you need grains to balance the legumes, or are you getting plenty of protein from eggs now?
I used to eat lots of 17 grain bread with all the nuts and seeds in it and I really miss my good bread. Bread and cheese, maybe with avocado, was my standard lunch/ snack when I couldn't think of anything else. It's comfort food for me. I do eat eggs, fat free cottage cheese and fat free yoghurt, and a little bit of cheese. I was eating a lot of cheese and I have cut that WAY down, but still eat a little (not fat free, because I don't think fat free cheese is worth eating!) I don't miss the rice and noodles as much and have gotten used to eating my veggies with tofu instead of rice or noodles. My garden will soon be giving me more potatoes and I love the garden fresh potatoes. I may have to sneak a little bit in. :)

Over all I feel good. The diet plan says "unlimited lean protein," for your meals, which makes it not hard to stick to, because not hungry. I am eating lots of fruits and veggies. I really think I have just been eating wrong all these years. Way too much carbs.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Thanks Dave aka pepperhead212. You gave me such good ideas. I see that being organized ahead of time makes a big difference. I need to work on that. My pantry definately needs some help. I like the way you organize in boxes and little cups, so that everything is ready to go. I understand that white rice is full of carbs so it makes sense that cutting back would be a health benefit in terms of weight loss. I love lentil soup and dahl so I am going to be experimenting with recipes for these foods. I am lucky to have a nice health food store nearby with bulk foods that include a good variety of lentils and spices. There is a huge walk in cooler for the bulk items. Can you believe that? They are particular and everything is organic and very fresh. I like red lentils for their softness. I don't like it when lentils are undercooked. I have been collecting Indian recipes for when I start cooking more. I didn't have a stove at all for a while so I wasn't doing any cooking at all. I just bought the Instant Pot so now I can start cooking again. I did some research a while back on Indian cooking. The Indian people experimented for many years to come up with the perfect spice combinations for vegetarian food.
I used to often buy the best lentil soup and garlic naan at an Indian restaurant over by the college. I tell you, it was the best. The owner was super friendly, made customers feel so welcome. He passed away not to long ago and the restaurant closed.
So now I need to do my own Indian cooking. I hope to do more Indian cooking this Winter now that I have my Instant Pot. It is such a great tool. I think I don't even need to buy another big stove, so the kitchen has more space.
I will find the recipes that I have collected over the years and post some of them here.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

I have a few good looking Thai cookbooks that I picked up at garage sale. I want to try some of the curry recipes. Thai is another favorite of mine.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

BirdLover wrote:I have a few good looking Thai cookbooks that I picked up at garage sale. I want to try some of the curry recipes. Thai is another favorite of mine.
I have quite a few different cookbooks and my all-time favorite is one called "Talk About Good" that is chock full of Louisiana based cooking with many of the recipes coming from regular folks just cooking away in their home kitchens for family and friends. There are many Cajun/Creole recipes that are indigenous to our area and culture.

If you want to learn how to make a good gumbo, ettoufee', sauce piquant, jambalaya, etc., it may be worth looking into.

There are now 2 books "Talk About Good" and "Talk About Good 2".

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Yes, I would love to try making gumbo, cajun & creole. I have never had anything like that before.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Gumbo and cajun were some of the earliest "unusual" cuisines I dabbled in, back in the 70s, when starting out my obsession with cooking. I have always leaned toward the spicy, and highly flavored foods!

What are those books you have, BirdLover? I got on my Thai food kick back in the 90s, and at that time, I had two friends still living in the area that also got hooked on it, and wanted to learn all they could about it. We tested all of the fish sauces, thick soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, shrimp pastes, and a few other bottled Thai ingredients we could get at the Asian market, and also learned, early on, that store-bought curry paste just didn't hold a candle to the home-made (as with many things). With the SE Asian ingredients, as well as Chinese ingredients, the flavor of the ingredients can vary greatly between brands; with Indian, not so much, as long as you are getting fresh spices. Do you have any Asian markets near you, or would you be buying many of the things online?

I'm a cookbook junkie, and have a bunch of Thai and SE Asian CBs. Here are some of my favorites:

Thai Cooking - Jennifer Brennen. My first Thai CB, and one of the first available.
True Thai - Victor Sodsook. Some of the best curry paste recipes I've found, and also a lot of other good recipes.
Real Thai and Real Vegetarian Thai - Nancie McDermott . Lots of good recipes in both, and the first one has a simplified version of Nam Prik Pao, which I simplified even more, and always have it in my fridge! Can't tell you how many batches I've made, or how many varieties of peppers I've tested in it! She has a much newer book out, and a reply to it said that it was a reprint of Real Thai, but I haven't seen it.
Thai Food - David Thompson. The Thai food bible, though it has a lot of unusual ingredients, even for a Thai CB!
Dancing Shrimp - Kasma Loha-unchit. Great CB, but only seafood.
Cracking the Coconut - Su-Mei Yu. Great CB, with a lot of basic Thai info, as well as the recipes.

Books of mixed SE Asian cuisines:

Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet - Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Fantastic book about the foods of all the countries along the Mekong river. They also authored Mangoes and Curry Leaves, a book about Indian foods, and Seductions in Rice, from all over the world.
SE Asian Flavors - Rober Danhi. Great book, with recipes from Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia, with a very good intro chapter, showing and describing the ingredients used in the regions.
Cradle of Flavor - Robert Oseland - Fantastic book, with great recipes from Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Calls for some unusual ingredients, and this was the book that got me to start growing curry leaves, to use in the Malaysian food, not Indian.

Just think, these are just my favorites!

My fewer favorite Indian CBs I'll post tomorrow (actually, today!) - I have to get up for therapy early!
Dave

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Dave aka pepperhead212 wrote: What are those books you have, BirdLover?

One of my Thai cookbooks is on your last post: "Real Thai - The Best of Thailand's Regional Cooking" by Nancie McDermott. It is a paperbook. I have 2 more at home but I'm not at home right now so I will post the titles later. I love spicy just like you do. I bought some Thai chile oil and use it quite often, on almost everything. It sure kicks up the flavor. That is a compromise for when I don't have time to really cook Thai food.
I have an old hippie cookbook "The El Molino Cookbook". I have been looking at it lately, trying to decide if I should keep it or not. It has some good info in there. Did you know that wild rice is a seed rather than a true rice? I didn't know that until the other day. That must be why it tastes and cooks up differently than what I expect from rice.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Dave wrote: "Do you have any Asian markets near you, or would you be buying many of the things online?"
I'm sure there are some Asian markets around but I haven't tried them out. I find my best ingredients at the health food store. They are particular and the produce is the best in the area, high quality and very fresh. I am particular about food quality so I fit in there. It seems like we have a food crisis going on with all the fast food and so many donuts and cookies at work etc. I long for home cooked healthy food.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

HoneyBerry,

Here's a site that may interest you - while I'm not vegetarian, many, if not most, of the Indian foods I make are vegetarian, and this site has a lot of great recipes. The blog is well set up, with cross indexing, showing things in collections, as you'll see in this link that I post, and you can get ideas for unusual ingredients, like I did, with those bottle gourds I grew.
https://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/recipes/collections/

Here are those favorite Indian CBs of mine, that I said that I'd post. A couple of the first few I got didn't do it for me (one by the best selling Indian CB author in the US at the time), as they called for simply store-bought garam masala, and other spice mixes, or mixing them with raw spices. The first two books have the spices toasted in most of the masalas, making these is when I started to like this food!

660 Curries - RaghavanIyer. If I had to pick a favorite, this is it. Some of my favorite masalas, and some of them use the method of coating the whole spices with a tsp or so of oil, then toasting them, which gives a different and delicious flavor than doing it dry. Good info on all of the ingredients, and a great chapter on the legumes. Another cookbook junkie friend showed me this, when I visited him on a vacation, and I had taken the next one to show him!

How To Cook Indian - Sanjeev Kapoor. Great CB, though some unusual ingredients in many recipes, even for Indian food! This is the first Indian CB I had seen that had masalas in which most of the spices were toasted, thus taking out that raw cinnamon and clove flavor. I can't stand it when Indian (or any other) dishes taste like somebody sprinkled pumpkin pie spice on them!

1,000 Indian Recipes - Neelan Batra. The same friend who showed me 660 Curries, told me about this one. I usually don't like those "1,000 .......Recipes" books, but this one is really good! A lot of recipes from the southern regions, and she describes them well. A lot of recipes for fermented pickle dishes. Good recipes for the masalas, though I don't like the fact that she uses powdered spices in most of them - this can burn easily. I just sub whole ones, using a scale, so no big deal.

Something that I noticed when thinking about all of these books, the Thai and Indian, is that they either don't have any pictures, or just a few. Seems that my favorites have never been those books in which more than half of the pages are photos of the finished dishes

Something that you might want to look into, since you said that you like red lentils (masoor dal), is mung dal, which are split and hulled (usually hulled, though some are split, but still have the hulls) mung beans, which are small, yellow lentils. These cook up even faster, and softer than red lentils. So if you see a recipe for mung dal, you can also use red lentils in it - both cook up to a mush in 20-25 min. or so.
Dave

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

You guys are making me so hungry.OOPs! I just stepped on my cat in the dark.
Since I am joining late. I don't mind a low carb diet too much. It has more flavor than calorie restricting or eating "diet" food. I don't miss pasta or potatoes because I don't eat that much of it anyway. I don't even miss rice that much. I do miss fruit though.
I found it hard on a low carb diet to make any kind of complex meal and keep the carbs down. Soups, stews, gravies all ticked up the carb count over my limit. In the end it was simpler to just eat more simply. I usually grill or bake my main protein and either eat a salad up to 4 cups a day, or 1/2 cup per serving of steamed, or nuked vegetable. Single veggie is much easier to calculate. Soups and gravies are kinda out. Since I don't like oil and vinegar dressings, I usually take a carb hit on the dressings. It is a lot easier this way than trying to calculate the carbs in a stew, braised dish, or casserole. It does get boring for me since I end up in a routine of bacon and eggs for breakfast, a salad for lunch and a protein and nuked vegetable for dinner. Once in a while I will go off this diet and indulge in carbs like some sweet bread which I really love and spaghetti which I miss, but a little fix is all I need to get over it and back on the keto diet again. Unfortunately,this means I never really get past stage 1.

As for Thai food. The first time I was introduced to it was from the Thai Kitchen. and my cookbook is Keo's Thai Cuisine. There was only one market in town to get the essential ingredients like kaffir lime leaves and kha. Kha can be replaced by regular ginger, even though the taste is a little different but the Kaffir lime leaves don't have good substitutes. I could only make two recipes in the book because of that. Then I started growing my own kaffir lime trees, chili pepper, basil, lemon grass, and ginger. I stocked coconut milk in the pantry and I did get thai curry paste both red and yellow (mainly because I did not have a mortar and pestle to make it and it was really too much work for the amount that I would be able to use. Then, I could have Thai food anytime and pick most of the herbs and basil from my yard. Now, basil limits me because of basil downy mildew.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Taking lots of notes :()
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

Imafan26, Have you considered growing basil and Thai basil indoors? I assume that you have AC on almost all the time there (I would! lol), and I figure that would keep the mildew off. Plus, I only need one plant each in the off season, they grow so vigorously in a small, DW hydro system. I often have to trim them back, and throw it away, when I don't need it, they grow so fast. If you grew it 365 days indoors, it slows after 6 months - one time I left them in just to see, and eventually removed them after 8 months. Maybe root some new ones at about 5 months. Amazing how long they grow without bolting, using this method!
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

pepperhead212: I can't seem to find the other 2 Thai recipe books. I am remodeling, so sometimes I can't find things that I don't use daily. They are hardback books, good ones. I will post the titles as soon as I find them.

Lately, I have been wanting to try some Persian recipes. My coworker with a Persian family brought in some cake that his wife made. It was really good. It was made using semolina flour and had rose petals sprinkled on top. It wasn't too sweet, just right, and had a dense texture like pound cake. I enjoyed it so much. She liked my compliments and gave me a package of rose petals. I am thinking about making some rose petal tea. I have never had that before, so it will be fun. I have been looking at Persian recipes online and am excited about trying some of them. Some of the recipes have that expensive spice saffron. I did a little research on saffron and learned that it is expensive because it is harvested tediously by hand. So growing this spice at home is not a bad idea. It would be fun to try growing saffron sometime.

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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

All the links and recommendations are much appreciated. I am going to do some browsing. I think I will try out the mung dal first. All this discussion got me going and I ended up making some lentil soup on Sunday in my Instant Pot using brown lentils that were in my pantry. It turned out pretty good.
The health food store that I shop at has a good variety of lentils. I usually buy the red ones when they are on sale. I think that they do have the yellow ones too. I just haven't tried them yet.
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Re: Favorite or go to dishes you make?

HoneyBerry, Saffron is a delicious spice - a delicate flavor, so putting it in a curry powder, which I have seen done, is a waste, IMO. I bought an ounce of it many years ago, at about half the price it was everywhere else, and most of it is still in my freezer. I just take a small amount (maybe a tb) out at a time, and refill the small jar when I need to.

There are 3 kinds of yellow lentils - moong dal, toor dal, and channa dal - plus the yellow split peas, which used to be (when I was growing up, and lentils were unheard of!) a pea that totally dissolved when cooked up. However, now some supermarket yellow split peas are actually channa dal, and say so right on the package. And, if you like your lentils soft, and broken down in a dish, you don't want those channa dal. However, I use them all the time in salads - even when cooked for 45 min., they remain intact, and firm up even more when chilled. They are actually a type of chickpea, which is the reason they remain firm for so long. Many years ago, before I knew there were so many lentils, I found a recipe for a lentil salad that I make many times every summer, but I had to be careful cooking the lentils, an start testing them at about 16 min., to get firm ones. About that time a Pakistani fellow opened a store on my route, and when I saw all of those lentils in there I asked him if there were any that would stay firm, telling him about the salad. He went right to the channa dal, saying "This is what you want!" He showed me all of the other lentils, and told me how they cook up, and what they are used for, and that was my start with lentils! He had a lot of spices and such in there, but that was before I got into the Indian food.
Dave



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